By on January 13, 2016

2016 chevrolet impala

American consumers, businesses, and government agencies registered a record-setting 17.5 million new vehicles in 2015. That takes into account more than 2.5 million pickup trucks, half a million minivans, more than 420,000 commercial vans, more than 420,000 subcompact crossovers, and nearly 2.4 million midsize cars.

But as SUV/CUV sales increased rapidly, pickup trucks strengthen, and car sales decline, which vehicles dominated their respective categories?

Envelope, please.

Subcompact Car – Nissan Versa
With a 3-percent increase to 144,528 U.S. sales in calendar year 2015, the Versa outsold its next-best-selling rival, the Chevrolet Sonic, by more than two to one. Though the Versa sits below the compact Sentra in Nissan’s lineup, it derives much of its success from its vast rear seat. Versa sales in 2015 rose to an all-time high even as subcompacts slid 9 percent.

Compact Car – Toyota Corolla
In 2015, for a second consecutive year, the Toyota Corolla was America’s best-selling compact car. Corolla volume jumped 7 percent to 363,332 units as category-wide volume grew just 2 percent. Late in the year, the Honda Civic surged to the top of the pack with sales victories in November and December, just as American Honda cleared out ninth-gen Civics and welcomed the all-new tenth-generation car.

2015_Toyota_Camry_XLE

Midsize Car – Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry, up by a scant 0.2 percent to 429,355 sales in 2015, was America’s best-selling car for a 14th consecutive year in 2015. The Camry’s four highest-volume rivals — Accord, Altima, Fusion, Sonata — all sold less often in 2015 than in 2014. Indeed, midsize car volume was down 2 percent in 2015.

Large Car – Chevrolet Impala
U.S. sales of full-size, volume brand cars plunged by more than 11 percent in 2015 after an 8-percent drop the year before. Partly to blame is GM’s goal of realigning the Chevrolet Impala as a retail-oriented sedan, not a fleet favourite. The Impala is the segment leader, however, despite a 17 percent drop to 116,825 units. 2015 was the fifth consecutive year of U.S. Impala sales decline. The Dodge Charger finished the year 22,100 sales behind the Impala.

2016 chevrolet impala

Sports Car – Ford Mustang
If ever the Mustang shed its “sporty” image for true “sports car” cred, it’s with this sixth-generation car. Setting aside all of our nuanced “sports car” definitions, the Mustang’s 48-percent leap to 122,349 sales — 44,847 more than the Chevrolet Camaro managed — resulted in the best calendar year for the Mustang since 2007.

Premium Car – BMW 3-Series
A surging Mercedes-Benz C-Class wasn’t quite strong enough to catch the perennial favourite, BMW’s 3-Series. Sales of the 3-Series slid 6 percent to 94,527 units in 2015, just 8,447 sales ahead of the C-Class. BMW also sold 46,082 copies of the 3-Series’ offshoot, the 4-Series, in 2015.

All-new BMW X1 and 340i launch drive in Chihuahua, MX.

Premium SUV/CUV – Lexus RX
Not only did the Lexus RX easily outsell every other premium brand utility vehicle, the RX also outsold all premium brand cars. That’s not an unusual position for the RX, sales of which fell 6 percent to 100,610 units in 2015 as Lexus transitioned from one generation to the next, but it was made potentially more difficult last year. The RX was no longer the lone affordable Lexus crossover. In addition to the RX, Lexus also sold 43,764 copies of the NX in 2015.

Subcompact SUV/CUV – Subaru XV Crosstrek
Arguably, the XV Crosstrek isn’t a subcompact crossover. It’s slightly larger on the outside than vehicles like the Mazda CX-3 and Chevrolet Trax. Then again, it’s substantially smaller than its own CR-V-fighting sibling, the Subaru Forester. Its obvious links to the Subaru Impreza can also alter some viewpoints. Crosstrek sales jumped 25 percent to 88,927 units in 2015. The Buick Encore ranked second with a 38-percent improvement to 67,549 units; Chevrolet sold 63,030 copies of the Trax. The fourth-quarter leader? The Jeep Renegade, which wasn’t on sale for most of the first three months of the year.

Compact SUV/CUV – Honda CR-V
In 2015, for a fourth consecutive year, the top-selling utility vehicle in America was the Honda CR-V. Consequently, the Honda CR-V thus led its own category for a fourth consecutive year. CR-V growth did, however, slow in 2015. Sales were up just 3 percent to 345,647 units. The Toyota RAV4 was 30,235 sales behind.

Intermediate/Large SUV/CUV – Ford Explorer
If you’re thinking in terms of full-size, body-on-frame, truck-based SUVs, the Chevrolet Tahoe is tops, and GM controls that category with an iron fist. But among utility vehicles with standard third rows, the Explorer’s 19-percent increase to 249,251 units was easily superior to all rivals, making 2015 the best year for the Explorer since 2004.

Midsize Pickup Truck – Toyota Tacoma
General Motors sold more Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons than expected: 114,507 in total. Yet while GM was making inroads, Toyota Tacoma sales were surging, too. Tacoma volume was up 16 percent to 179,562 units in 2015, the first 170,000-plus year for the Tacoma since 2007.

Full-Size Pickup Truck – Ford F-Series
For the first time since 2009, the Ford F-Series didn’t generate more U.S. new vehicle sales than the combined GM full-size forces. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra joined together for 824,683 sales in 2015; Ford F-Series sales were up 3.5 percent to 780,354. Top-selling? Sort of.

Minivan – Toyota Sienna
There’s no denying that Fiat Chrysler’s twins, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, combined for greater market share in 2015. Despite a plant shutdown and a severe decline, the duo owned 37 percent of America’s minivan market. But after ranking first and second in 2014, they ranked third and fourth in 2015. Sienna sales jumped 10 percent to 137,497 units, an eight-year high.

Small Commercial Van – Ford Transit Connect
Challengers are increasingly numerous, but Transit Connect sales increased to a record high of 52,221 sales in 2015, up 21 percent year-over-year. That was good enough for 55 percent market share in its category.

Full-Size Commercial Van – Ford Transit
No commercial van in America sold more often in 2015 than the Ford Transit, sales of which jumped to 117,577 units. Between the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, General Motors managed 85,374 sales, but keep in mind, Ford also sold 50,788 copies of the E-Series, mostly stripped chassis and cutaway models.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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111 Comments on “2015’s Most Popular Vehicles in America – Segment by Segment by Segment...”


  • avatar
    energetik9

    “Midsize Car – Toyota Camry
    The Toyota Camry, up by a scant 0.2 percent to 429,355 sales in 2015, was America’s best-selling car for a 14th consecutive year in 2015.”

    Must be all the new “BOLD” styling they keep bragging about in their commercials :)

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You know Camry is grounded to the ground, right?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I really liked the smoothed out styling, and with the horizontal crossbars on LE/XLE trim, the gaping maw effect is less noticeable (IMO). The interior refresh was also much to my liking and improved some sore spots, namely the lower dash trim and HVAC controls, shift knob.

      Well sorted ride, a reliable and smooth powertrain that gets good real world mpg, roomy interior with a good sized trunk. All at a very competitive price ($18-20k real world prices for LE-SE), what’s not to like?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Why do they love Camry’s in the US?

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        It’s reliable, comfortable and econmical. Everything else is just fluff.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Yeah, its so sad that its better than the Honda Accord.

          Better as in a better chance to find it on a rental lot. Exactly what people critisized Taurus for 20 years ago, but today, naw, cuz economical means several cars it competes with get better mileage. And comfortable means you can take comfort in Toyota making huge profits on a long-paid-for car that is vastly inferior to many cars in its class, which allows them to dump them in fleets, but still make money because they havnt invested nearly as much in it as most others do. The Chrysler 200 was a better, stronger effort than the latest “bold” Camry fish face.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      Well it’s Bold when it was the only mid-size not to lose market share to cuv/suv’s. I bet you read the article real well and think the F-150 is the best selling truck…

      And buddy can go buy a Chrysler 200 and have his $30k car be worth $15k by this time next year.

      I can’t believe someone actually wrote that

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What city is that in the Impala photo? I don’t recognize any of those buildings.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Now I’m curious, too. The skyline looks Asia-goofy but the area not developed enough for China.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m going to put in a guess that it’s west of the Mississippi. It’s got younger buildings, and a few from the 70’s and 80’s, particularly noticeable is that hideous brown pyramid top one. It’s bordering on Brutalism, but is just a bit too new. I’m going to estimate 1982.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Could be a non-existent place, something commonly done by photoshop or some other program hocus-pocus. Happens a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Hmm – the water reflections are spot on, so I am sticking with real!

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Zackman, can tell you why there are so many photos of nonexistent skylines nowadays.

        Some years ago, there was a ruling in civil court that the designers of a building could claim copyright privileges to its design. In other words, if you showed a photo that happened to have, say, the Transamerica Pyramid in the background, you needed to pay Transamerica for permission. Result: Photoshopped skylines left and right so photographers and advertisers didn’t get sued by 13 building owners.

        Shakespeare had it right: First, let’s kill all the lawyers.

        • 0 avatar
          BuzzDog

          I’d be interested in knowing which case you’re referring to, because I can’t find it. Unless you’re referring to another case, the only one I can find that even comes close is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, Inc. v. Gentile Prod. (1999), where the museum tried suing photographer under trademark law for selling posters that featured a photo of their building, which they claimed was their “trademark.” The museum lost.

          Title 17, section 120 of the US code states, “(a) Pictorial Representations Permitted.-The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.”

    • 0 avatar
      willicent

      Stay Classy San Diego. Its just not a favorable shot with that ugly prison looking building.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks! It’s much more cohesive at night.

        http://www.sandiego.com/sites/sandiego.com/files/styles/large/public/content/featured-content/sd-tour-1.jpg?itok=8KDQcQ5u

        The pointy buildings make up the Manchester Grand Hyatt. The taller and uglier tower was built in 1992, which tells me it was dated even when new.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Grand_Hyatt_Hotel#/media/File:Manchester_Grand_Hyatt_Hotel,_San_Diego.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      jfbar167

      My first (and only) guess is Orlando FL

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Congrats to Ford and GM for leading in a few segments. It makes Ford killing off the E-series vans look like a smart move and after so many decades of the W-platform it is good to see the Impala doing well.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    >”The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra joined together for 824,683 sales in 2015; Ford F-Series sales were up 3.5 percent to 780,354. Top-selling? Sort of.”

    As long as GM considers GMC and Chevrolet to be two separate brands, everyone else will too. If GM wants the Silverado to be best-selling pickup, all they have to do is kill GMC, but that’s not gonna happen.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Does Ford continue to include Super Duty in that number?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Ford, GM, and FCA all include their larger than half ton trucks in those numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Yes. It’s F-Series, not F-150. When Ram tallies its trucks and Chevy/GMC theirs, they include HD numbers as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Ford Motor Company has Ford with F150, f250, F350, F450 counting as F Series sales. Their bigger stuff is counted separately.
        Ram does the same. They include 1500-4500 in Ram pickup sales. Bigger stuff is separate.
        GM has 2 pickup selling divisions, namely Chevrolet with Silverado and Colorado brands and GMC with Sierra and Canyon brands.
        Silverado counts 1500-3500 and so does Sierra. Both do not make anything bigger. The smaller Colorado and Canyon count separately.
        Ford can legally claim #1 selling brand whereas GM Corporation can not.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I would actually assume the Class 5 (F-550 and Ram 5500) trucks are counted in the same category as the Class 4, since the Class 4 and 5 have more in common than with any other trucks.

          Ram hasn’t made anything bigger than Class 5 since the 6500 in Mexico, which was discontinued after the Daimler-Chrysler merger (Daimler didn’t want anything competing with Freightliner’s medium trucks).

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 – I’ve read that the cutoff is 450/4500. There was no explanation given.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            Aren’t the 450 pickups different from the 450/550 chassis cabs? I thought that the former used the 350 frame and everything with the 450 axles and wheels and some other parts to beef up the towing/hauling capacities.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Yes; at least, I think that’s how they were from 2008-2014. Starting with the 2015, the F-450 pickup became a modified chassis cab rather than a heavier 350, IIRC.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 & derekson – the original F450 pickup ford sold was a true class 4 truck. People griped about low governed speeds due to the 19 inch wheels and weight. It morphed into a F350 with a tow package. My understanding is that it has once again become a true class 4 truck mostly due to the trailer tow war with Ram 3500.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Right, and regardless of which chassis the F-450 pickup is based on, all fall into the same platform umbrella, including the F-550 C/C.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I see, so then you approved of Toyota rolling the Matrix numbers into the Corolla, and the Solara numbers into the Camry – back when they were both products?

      Would you have been OK with GM rolling the HHR into Cobalt numbers, which would have created the best selling, eerrrr fleet queen, numbers in the segment for several years?

      How about GM rolling Monte Carlo and Impala numbers together back when the W-Body twins were sold side-by-side.

      Car companies torture numbers different ways — so what.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        GM can’t kill “GMC”. It’s is an extra or free sales opportunity of GM pickups through a different network of dealers. Like what Mazda B-series pickups were to the Ranger.

        “GMC” is pure profit too, and from what GM has studied and found, most dedicated/repeat GMC buyers cringe at the thought of owning a “damn Chevy”, as crazy as it sounds.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Easy there. Don’t make this personal by putting words in my mouth.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @aPaGttH – regulations somehow prevent GM Corporation from claiming the #1 overall pickup sales title. I suspect it has entirely to do with pickup sales being categorized by brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I just wish we could get more detailed truck sales numbers. How many of each cab/bed were sold? How many half tons versus 3/4 or 1 tons? I believe that GM has the largest half ton market share (and that the Silverado 1500 alone might outsell the F150), but Ford has the HD market locked up.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    The XV Crosstrek is NOT a subcompact SUV. Subaru isn’t even allowed to make anything smaller than “compact” by Toyota. The XV is a smaller compact, the Forester is a larger compact, but the XV Crosstrek is still a compact SUV, and competes as such. Please let us know who would have actually won the segment had the XV Crosstrek not been counted. And it might be interesting to know the compact SUV results if the XV Crosstrek were included there as well (though I don’t think it’ll dethrone the CR-V).

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Terrain/Equinox continue combined sales over the Honda?

      Encore/Trax too?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        GM doesn’t actually have compact CUV to compete with the CR-V, Escape, etc. right now. The best they can do is sell you a lower-spec Equinox (mid-size) and say, “look at all the car you’re getting for the money!” or an LTZ Trax (subcompact) and say, “Look at how efficient this thing is!”

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The Equinox effectively competes in the compact CUV segment, in terms of practical use/price/buyers. It is definitely on the larger end of the segment, towards the ‘tweener’ size that the Sorento used to play in, and that the new Rogue is closer to.

          What’s surprising is despite the outside dimensions, cargo space trails smaller segment leaders. That stretched out wheelbase yields good second row legroom but trunk space is wholly unremarkable.

          They’re heavy suckers too, pretty lethargic with the 2.4L I4 and not particularly efficient. I remember when they came out the claimed highway MPG of 32 mpg had everyone wow-ed, but real world driving yielded significantly worse numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            This.

            Just as the Chevy Spark is an A-segment tweener.

            The Sonic is GMs B-segment offering.

            The Versa is a B-segment tweener, tickling the C-segment.

            There are lots of “tweeners” out there but they still sit in their respective segments.

            I agree the XV CrossTek isn’t a subcompact CUV in the same vein – but is is a tweener – at the largest of the segment.

            Sitting in those “tween” spots generally pays off if the mix and pricing is right.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I always like getting my C-segment tickled.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Right about the Equinox competing in the Escape/CRV/RAV4 et.al. segment. Also correct about the space vs size/weight. Too small inside for the footprint. A well-broken-in I4 will deliver 30+ HWY mpg at 70mph – I drive one that does. If the Buick Envision is any guide, the redesigned 2017 ‘Nox will be shorter, lighter with even less cargo space, but, hopefully, more usable carrying space like the RAV4 with its low floor and high roof configuration. The less trucky styling and generous incentives have kept the “Nox in record sales territory long after its sell-by date.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Equinox’s additional exterior size and weight doesn’t really get you any benefits over the latest CR-V/RAV4/Forester. Don’t know why the Lambda packaging magic didn’t make it down to the Theta.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Llambda packaging magic? It’s as big as a minivan with less usable space. The main benefit of that length is 14 cubic feet of cargo space with three rows occupied. The new Acadia probably loses that. Hopefully the third row will be adult friendly as the Rendezvous third row was.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The new Acadia *will* lose that, because the new Acadia is a mid-size.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @gtemnykh,

            I own a Terrain (trucky styling? yes please), 30+ mpg is absolutely achievable. My best is ~34 with cruise set to 64mph. I find the 2.4L to be perfectly adequate as far as power goes. Around town it feels pretty sprightly off the line. Nothing in this segment powered by a naturally aspirated 4-pot has any real giddy-up. There is a 300hp V6 available if you want more power; were I to buy it again I’d probably check the box for the 3.6L as I’ve found that we don’t put enough miles on it to realize any significant fuel savings.

            @dal20402,

            The extra size/weight absolutely do provide a benefit (along with the long wheelbase), the ride quality is excellent and much less harsh than anything it competes with.

            @ixim,

            It still sells well because it does the three basic things that non-car customers want well: its comfortable, its economical, and it looks good. Even if the competition has surpassed it in some ways, its still a good car and it still offers a feeling of stability and a ride quality that’s not matched by the competition (due to the wheelbase).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Love the new Impala, especially having been able to drive one for a weekend when my 2012 was in the shop, and GM generously fixing a barely-leaking front engine cover. All is good now.

    However, if I ever buy another new or used car, it’ll be a smaller ride, like a Malibu, Camry, Accord, Corolla or Civic.

    A large part of me really desires a full-size pickup, though, but that’ll never happen. :-(

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The new Impala is a really fine driving car and does most things quite well. 5 fellow co-workers have them and I have spoken in depth with 4 of them. Mostly all very positive things to say about all.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Honda is winning like GE, by being #1 or #2 in nearly every market they compete in:
    – Compact cars: Civic = #2
    – Midsized cars: Accord #2 (#1 retail)
    – Compact SUV: CR-V #1
    – Midsized SUV: Pilot #2 (as new model production comes up to speed)
    – Subcompact CUV: HR-V #2 as factory in Mexico improves throughput
    – Minivan: Odyssey #2
    – Luxury CUV: MDX #2 (#1 3-row luxury SUV)
    Fit would be #1 or #2 subcompact, but competitors are selling below cost to raise their CAFÉ #s.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      If Honda is winning, it is by profit per vehicle and not volume.

      Honda as a brand sold 1.4 million vehicles in America in 2015.
      Toyota 2.1 million
      Chevy 2.1 million
      Ford 2.5 million

      Apparently, in 2014 Toyota made about double the profit per vehicle compared to GM or Ford. My quick shallow internet search didn’t turn up any similar metric for Honda, but someone in the B&B probably can fill this in.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Honda’s funny math with rental sales/fleet?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I do a ton of business travel, rented from a lot of agencies. The only Hondas I’ve ever seen on a rental lot or been offered have been in Sacramento.

        Corolla, Camry, Malibu, Altima, and Elanta are pretty darn ubiquitous now.

        I saw my first Jetta in the summer of 2015 in Detroit. Almost picked it out, but I had never driven a Cruze and the Jetta was stripped, not equipped.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Honda does very well in the main segments; the problem has been with the more niche segments…

      Crosstour, Element, Ridgeline, Insight, CR-Z, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        jefmad

        What’s funny is to look at used prices of an Element. Honda couldn’t sell enough of them new to continue production but used they command a higher price than a similar year and condition CR-V.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Can some tell me – what make BMW3 a Premium Car? What is premium about it?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The price and badge snobbery.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “What is premium about it?”

      Price. And Krhodes will fly to Europe for one.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      It’s premium, just not luxury. I think most “luxury” cars produced today are in fact premium but if you can convince prospective buyers that they are indeed luxury cars, you can add (at a minimum) five grand to the price.

      All about the monies honey!

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Usually need to get out of the entry-level and into the mid-segment level (5 Series, E Class, etc.) to get into “luxury”, but that’s changing as the entry-level segment has is moving upscale with the newest C Class.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          My friend was one of the top Mini salesmen in Canada one year while working at a BMW/Mini dealership. I saw him buy a brand new 3series xdrive and barely keep it over a full year before he ordered in his words, “a real BMW” 5 series

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      The price and the brand (i.e. snob appeal and exclusivity).

      With leasing nowadays, almost anyone can lease a ‘luxury’ vehicle so it’s not as ‘exclusive’ (not just for rich people) anymore.

      Non-German ‘luxury’ brands offer more ‘value’ for their vehicles (i.e. Lexus, Acura) instead of just performance.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      It would be a good idea to test drive a 3-series BMW in order to compare it to other so-called premium vehicles as well as compare it to non-premium vehicles. “Premium” is, I think, based on one’s personal perceptions and to what it is being compared. The 5-series might offer more of a premium feel if one feels the 3-series lacks a premium feel. For example, I owned a “fully loaded” 525XI and I felt it had a very premium feel to it (but I did not feel the same about the 3-series); however, I have one friend and one relative, one who owns a 1-series and the other who owns a 3-series, who both consider their vehicles to be premium (and, they are very adamant about their cars being premium/top-end/best available and neither of them care for the 5-series).

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’m surprised the Versa outsells the Sonic. I’ve had both as rentals and I feel the Sonic is a better car in many regards. Though the Versa is more conventionally styled and a newer design. But if the lease deal hadn’t been so good on the Cruze, I’d would have rather had the Sonic for the hatchback.

    I didn’t care for the Sienna when we were shopping vans in 2014, but I was just in a new Sienna and it appears to be greatly improved. I like the Sienna SE except for the 19 inch wheels and the suede seat inserts, but even the XLE I was in had a much better interior and was even quieter than the last van I remember. But with the new Chrysler Pacifica seeming to be impressive, it’ll be a hard choice when the Honda lease ends in 16 months.

    Ford will seemingly always have the commercial van segment as a lock. The E series was positively Stone Age compared to the Express/Savana vans and yet the E series was everywhere. I’m sure they were basically given away, but in the short time the Transit has been around, they’ve replaced many of the E-series I’m used to seeing at the airport curb. Ford must be aggressively selling those too. as it’s gotta be more expensive than the all paid for E-series. The Transit Connect seems to be the best choice in that class, but it also had the luxury of being the first on the market here too.

    I’m on airport or hotel shuttles constantly and 95% are E-series of some variety (cutaway or E-350), with a few Sprinters here and there. One hotel had a Nissan NV, but that’s really rare. I much prefer the Transits and Sprinters as they are generally easier to get in and out of and more comfortable than the dinosaur E series, especially in the terms of ride.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I wonder how many times over the tooling/research/everything else to do with the E Series has been paid for?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      >”…as it’s gotta be more expensive than the all paid for E-series.”

      The Transit has been more than paid for in the past 50 years in Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The new Transit had a significant amount of updates/re-engineering for US launch, but you are correct.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          This was my point. I know that our Transit has been around in Europe for many years, but they did have to make changes to it for ‘Merica. Must not have been too expensive, but no way as cheap as the E-series was to build.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Transit of today shares nothing with the Transit of yesteryear and the one we get in the US does have a number of differences with the ones available in Europe.

        The reason that the Econoline Spanked the GM twins is that they are not bought by the people who drive or ride in them. So the most important things are things like durability, up time, ease and cost of repairs all cases where the Econoline led the class by a mile.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Versa wins big because you can easily find a sedan that seats 4 fullsize adults or easily fits child seats in the back (not the case with the Sonic), along with a midsize-class 15cu ft trunk, with an automatic transmission and A/C for $11k before any sort of haggling. 40mpg highway is just icing on the cake at that point. Nothing else in the US can touch that.

      EDIT: just looked and it is possible to find an automatic Sonic LS for about $11,500 but there was something like 10 of them available in a large radius. I can find pages full of Versas under $12k within 500 miles of me. Also, the Sonic Sedan has a comparably sized trunk, but loses big time with rear passenger space (read: can it fit a child seat). Sonic wins big though on being a heavier more susbstantial feeling vehicle. It just looks like rear seat space is a deciding factor, along with ready availability of the cheap-o model.

      EDIT #2: If you’re willing to row your own gears, you can buy a new (leftover 2015) Versa S for $8500 right now. Wow.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The most surprising rental I’ve had in the last 3 years was the Sonic. We got a brand new 2015 in October of 2014 and we were genuinely surprised. We had very low expectations (my wife groaned) when she saw the penalty box) but driving around in New Orleans and then down into the delta the little car won us over.

      It seems to have TARDIS dimensions for the interior, compared to the outside. For what it is, a somewhat dated penalty box on wheels designed by Daewoo, it is a damn good somewhat dated penalty box on wheels designed by Daewoo.

      I think it might even be – fun – with a manual in the floor and the 1.4L T under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      A Versa can be had for notably less coin than a Sonic. In that segment price is always going to win buyers.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I just don’t get the Toyota Corolla. Its pretty much the only car I refuse at the rental counter. The interior is HORRIBLE, it is just a black slab of shiny plastic. The design and layout is about the most driver UN-focused thing I have ever been in. The radio, HVAC controls, air vents, etc are on a totally flat surface in the dead center of the car. Its like the designers came up with something so generic you could move the wheel to the other side without changing a thing. My hate of the Corolla also comes from what I assume is the low buck, loss leader, stripper version that lacked remote entry… I had to actually turn a metal key to open the door! And there was no remote truck release, thus the key was required yet again. I honestly didn’t think any car made today could lack things my wife’s ’93 Civic EX had as standard equipment! For comparison I had a Kia Forte just last week as a rental and other then the complete lack of power (going uphill loaded 18-wheelers were passing me) it was so much nicer inside then the Corolla. Heck the Forte even has a switch blade style key FOB like most modern European cars.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “I had to actually turn a metal key to open the door! And there was no remote trunk release, thus the key was required yet again!”

      The HORROR the HORROR!

      Toyota has for the last few years sometimes built “rental spec” vehicles that have options (or lack of options) that you won’t find on a new Toyota dealers lot.

      Examples: Camry “L” and a Sienna with the 2.5 4 cyl.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      What jumps out at me is that the winners in multiple categories have legitimate weaknesses, but they have a roomy rear seat. Even the 3-Series is well ahead of challengers like the ATS in this regard, but I’m really talking about cars that are obviously lackluster except for their room and price, notably the Versa and Corolla. I think this speaks to the general economic decline of the average American – they can’t afford a nice family car, but they still have to somehow transport their family.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        The people you speak in general econ declein mostly dont buy a new car, they buy used.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          baggins, many do. But some don’t. Let me reframe the question two other ways:

          1) In an era of declining family incomes, do you think every head of household with a declining income never buys a new car?

          2) Specific to the Versa and Corolla, would you buy one of these just because you liked it?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I had to actually turn a metal key to open the door!”

      Oh NOOOEEEESSSS!

      It’s the same thing ya gots to do when you enter your house!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “I just don’t get the Toyota Corolla.”

      No way, a 350Z owner doesn’t like a rental-spec Corolla? :)

      Really, though, this is just the divide between people who have an interest in how cars drive, feel, and work, and those who do not. Corolla sales show that many people just want a transportation tool with a competitive-enough feature set and a reputation for holding value and not breaking so they can do whatever else it is they want to do with their lives. The huge backseat is probably more important for someone wanting a budget family sedan than a pokey 10-second 0-60 time and absent steering feel.

    • 0 avatar
      iMatt

      If transport trucks are passing you going uphill in any modern car, then you are doing it wrong. Even my old 125 hp 91′ Dodge Dakota could keep pace with the big boys on steep hills.

      I’d also add that my Jetta lacks keyless entry and that’s okay because I CHOSE not to pay for it. More choice is better, not worse.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      “I had to actually turn a metal key to open the door! And there was no remote truck release, thus the key was required yet again”

      SERIOUSLY??! (O.o)

    • 0 avatar
      kit4

      Corollas have standard keyless entry. You either were using the valet key since previous renters lost the other ones, or you’re lying.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Corolla can be had for cheap, is reliable (old tried and true powertrain) and has cavernous rear passenger space.

      Basically is the Versa of the compact segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparmann

      Why would a Corolla have a “remote TRUCK release”? Is this some special option for Corolla owners who also have a pick up truck locked away somehwere?!? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      My sister leases a 14′ Corolla S that is pretty much loaded. It’s alright but no lighting in the window or lock buttons on the door. Makes things kind of annoying at night or after 5pm here during the winter. Also when riding in the back seat on the gravel road to the cottage you can hear and feel every stone hit under your feet. They cut some costs in materials back there.
      She likes it a lot.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Hmmm… I would have thought that “EV’s/PHEV’s/Hybrids” would have qualified as a “Segment”.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    So the BMW 3-Series experienced a HUGE drop in sales…when they changed the name (number?) of the coupe to 4.

    Meanwhile, Mercedes was only close because their coupe and sedan are both called the C-Class (for now).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There’s an overwhelming theme in this list.

    GOOD PACKAGING, CHEAP.

    Next time you whine that every car should be RWD, just remember this.

    Versa: By far the most interior room in class.
    Corolla: Only adult-sized back seat in class.
    Camry: One of two cars in the class (Accord) with adult room in the back.
    Impala: The cheaper of 2 cars in class (Avalon) without major packaging compromises.
    3-Series: The only usable back seat in the compact luxury class.
    Mustang: The cheap way to get RWD, sporty styling, and some practicality.
    RX: A 5-seater built on 7-seater bones, very comfortable at all positions.
    Crosstrek: Avoids typical subcompact-ute packaging compromises thanks to hatchback roots.
    CR-V: One of just three compact utes (RAV4, Forester) with real interior cubes.
    Explorer: The exception – the packaging king here is the Lambda.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    Ford’s dominance of the commercial van market is incredible.

  • avatar
    honda1

    Large Car – Chevrolet Impala

    Really? I live in DFW with the highest volume chevy dealer right in the middle of it and I might see an impala once a month and I am all over DFW all the time.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Thought I saw in this space a few weeks back that the Versa and Soul were neck and neck in the subcompact segment with a few weeks to go. Musta been elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I never was popular myself, so I can fully understand why these are popular. They’re so generic it’s sick.

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